It should be no surprise to anyone that heart disease and cancer continue to be our #1 and #2 killers, respectively. Although we are surviving longer with these diseases, the rates continue to climb for both.
But there is another, more obscure type of disease that was relatively rare prior to the 1970’s, but now affects a whopping 50 million Americans—that’s 1 out of 6 of us!
Here’s what you need to know about these conditions that may very well be affecting you or someone you love.
Good efforts gone bad
Your immune system is everywhere in your body. Although the majority of it (about 70 percent) is located in your gut, your immune cells cruise ALL through your body, looking for “invaders” such as a virus, infection or even cancer cells!
When your immune system detects an invader, it launches an attack and destroys it—thereby protecting you and helping to keep you healthy!
Well, with autoimmune diseases, your immune cells get mixed up. They start to see your normal, healthy functioning cells, tissues and organs as a dangerous invader and launch their attack.
As this continues over and over, chronic inflammation is created. Eventually this causes great harm to your cells and organs, and leads to impairment or loss of normal bodily functioning.
It’s all fair game
Since your immune system is everywhere in your body, autoimmune diseases can literally affect you from head to toe. Here are some examples:
- IBD (inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
- Scleroderma (thickening and hardening of the skin)
- Sjogren's syndrome (chronic dry eyes)
- Graves' disease (overproduction of thyroid hormones)
- Hashimoto's disease (underproduction of thyroid hormones)
- Glomerulonephritis (kidney inflammation that can lead to kidney failure)
- Guillain-Barre' syndrome (weakness, numbness and paralysis)
Researchers have identified between 80-100 different autoimmune diseases so far, and at least another 40 conditions are suspected as having an autoimmune component.
Once you have an autoimmune disease, you are far more likely to get another one—which is just your immune system continuing on its rampage.
Why in the world?
You may wonder why someone’s immune system starts going haywire and attacking healthy cells.
Well, because it’s taunted into doing so.
When your immune system is “aggravated” and exposed to things that are or could be mistaken for a dangerous invader, it can be triggered into going overboard and launching an inflammatory reaction when it shouldn't.
Here are some factors that could be stirring up your immune system:
1) Reduced natural barriers
Your body has many natural barriers that prevent dangerous molecules from seeping into your bloodstream.
These include your saliva, stomach acid, bile, mucus and your friendly gut flora.
Lacking in any of these can open the door for real or perceived antigens to sneak through, get into your bloodstream and clang your immune system alarm.
Think about this: Considering the staggering number of people who regularly use antacids or acid reducers, that's a whole lot of people disabling one of their body's most important barriers and opening the door for immune system problems.
2) Leaky gut
Having a gut wall that’s too porous (known as leaky gut or intestinal hyper-permeability) can allow harmful substances to enter your bloodstream and provoke your immune system.
Leaky gut is commonly the result of poor digestion but it can also be caused by:
- Intestinal infections
- Medications—especially NSAIDS, which are commonly prescribed for autoimmune disease pain!
- Excessive alcohol use
- Harmful bacteria, parasites and yeast overgrowth
Dysbiosis is an intestinal environment where dangerous bacteria have the “upper hand” over the friendly, helpful bacteria in your gut microbiome.
Numerous studies link dysbiosis to autoimmune diseases.
The theory behind vaccines is to give you a small dose of a virus to “fool” your immune system into thinking you’re sick, and trick it into developing antibodies to that virus.
But everyone’s system is different, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that certain people’s immune systems might not react as expected, and/or may overreact.
Plus with vaccines, viruses are injected into muscle tissue and make their way to the bloodstream—nowhere in Nature does this occur. Instead viruses are contracted through the eyes, skin, nose, mouth and bodily fluids. It’s not unreasonable to expect that something could go wrong when we try to outsmart Nature.
There has been a concurrent rise in autoimmune diseases and the number of recommended vaccines and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
5) Widespread vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency has now reached epidemic proportions, thanks to our exaggerated fears of the sun and slathering on sunscreen whenever we walk out the door.
Vitamin D helps calm excessive inflammatory actions of your immune system, so without its protective efforts, your immune system is more likely to “misbehave.”
6) Our obsession with antibacterial products
By trying to germ-proof our world with antibacterial products, we are not exposing our immune systems to microbes and allowing them to develop natural immunity.
Instead we are in effect encasing our immune systems in a sort of “plastic bubble,” preventing them from functioning as they were designed to.
Help smarten up your immune system
To help minimize your chances of facing autoimmune disease (or help fight back if you’ve got one) you can encourage your immune system to stay strong AND act appropriately by giving it help in these ways:
Support a healthy gut environment
Concentrate on gut-friendly foods like fresh vegetables and fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut.
At the same time, stay away from processed and fast foods and especially refined sugars, as they feed the harmful microbes in your gut.
Plus probiotic supplementation with a full-spectrum formula like Super Shield can help repopulate your supply of friendly intestinal microbes, and help support a healthier flora balance that can protect you as well as be a good home to your immune system.
One of Super Shield's strains, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, helps to strengthen gut-barrier function and has been shown to have a beneficial impact on autoimmune diseases as well as constipation, diarrhea and IBS symptoms.
Additionally, Super Shield's 12 other potent, feisty strains will help keep your microbiome in proper balance, encouraging the formation of more anti-inflammatory immune cells.
Ease inflammatory actions with vitamin D
Supplementation with a quality vitamin D formula like Optimum DK Formula with FruiteX-B can go a long way in helping to counteract the overzealous inflammatory responses seen with autoimmune conditions.
Also, reasonable (not excessive) exposure to sunlight without sunscreen will help your body naturally produce vitamin D. Just 20 minutes is all it usually takes. Make sure you never get a sunburn, and if you are going to be in the sun for longer than 20 minutes, then it’s time to apply a safe, natural sunscreen (like Badger).
Use good old-fashioned soap and water
Ditch the antibacterial garbage and use regular soap and water for washing your hands and body.
Carefully weigh the risks and benefits all medications, including vaccines
Most medications, including vaccines and especially antibiotics, can affect your gut health and immune function. Read package inserts for all drugs and vaccines, use medications only if absolutely necessary, and talk to your doctor about alternatives. If he or she is unwilling to discuss the matter with you, find another who will.
Treat your immune system like the precious gold that it is and support its proper functioning.
To your health,